Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.Full Bio
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Even if you are an exercise nut that doesn't guarantee that you'll be gung-ho about working out all the time. After all, it's easy to get pretty creative with excuses when you get injured or feel bored.
Exercise may take a back seat when life becomes hectic, you're too tired, you have a stomachache, a toothache...you get the idea.
And although you know exercise is so important - both for mental and physical health - it's not always easy to lace up your sneakers and get moving. Personal experience has taught me some surefire tips for fighting back...
Excuse #1: I'm too busy
Deadlines, errands, appointments, work...these can all get in the way, relegating exercise to the very bottom of your to-do list.
- Work out for 10 minutes: A few 10-minute spurts of exercise can add up - 3 short spurts equals 30 minutes...a decent workout time.
- Get up 30 minutes earlier: Two days a week, set your alarm 30 minutes earlier. You may feel so good from all the flowing endorphins that you'll be tempted to add a third day - or even a fourth.
Excuse #2: I'm too tired
Maybe you partied too hard last night...or you tossed and turned all night, feeling like you never slept at all.
- "Disguise" exercise by ramping up some every-day activities: Take the stairs instead of the elevator park the car at the back of the parking lot. Something else that works: When you pack up for work, pack your sneakers and take an active lunch-hour. You might not be sweating in your workout gear, but you can still get some great benefits.
- Rethink your bedtime: Going to sleep a half-hour earlier may be all you need to help you wake up refreshed and ready to go.
Exercise #3: Exercise is way too boring
Sure, walking on the treadmill can sometimes feel like you're getting nowhere fast. Or the same old routine can begin to really wear on you...and suddenly a root canal looks like a fun alternative.
- Vary your routine: Instead of 30 minutes on the treadmill (which can feel like 30 hours) divide your workout between 3 different machines for 10 minutes each. Ride the bike, then hit the rowing machine and finally the elliptical - the time might pass so fast, you won't realize you've just put in 30 minutes.
- Get out of the gym: Instead, pursue fun, enjoyable outdoor activities: tennis, gardening, biking, hiking...they're exercise, too.
Excuse #4: I've tried to exercise in the past - and have failed miserably or have never been able to follow through
- Start small: Sometimes by doing too much, you burn out faster. Pace yourself. Each session, up your time and/or intensity. Your body will adjust better and you'll avoid injuries (a common cause of throwing in the towel) if you build up slowly.
- Set realistic goals: Don't set yourself up for failure by expecting yourself to work out five days a week when three days might be more realistic. And if you're frustrated that after one month that your body doesn't resemble Madonna's (not even a little), give yourself a reality check: it may never look like that, but you can be sure it looks tighter and more fit than when you first started.
They're all worth a try, don't you think?
Check in with me and let me know what worked - and what didn't!
For more on exercise, read this.